How do you respond to calls

Telephone Training for Complaint Management - What To Do With Difficult Customers?

Smile! You can not kill them all.

(Yes, this tip already has a beard, but its effects have been scientifically proven!)

You can also hear on the phone if you are smiling. Do not you believe? Try it! But the prerequisite is that you mean business and smile from the inside out! So smiling in itself is not enough, much more important is the positive attitude behind it, which you should acquire. British neuroscientist Jane Warren explains how this affects your client: Just the sound of a laughing person causes our brains to prepare the facial muscles to join in and laugh with them: So laughing (and smiling too) is really contagious!

Be kind!

Few things anger a customer more than unfriendly staff. This applies both online and offline, digitally and face-to-face. Try to be friendly even if you are having a bad day or your boss pisses you off because the caller cannot help it. Even if it can be difficult sometimes: Friendliness and a positive attitude towards work make things easier for you and usually appease even difficult customers.

Call the customer by name!

This strengthens the bond, ensures that the customer feels that they are being taken seriously and takes away the worry that their concerns might not be important, since they are only one of the many callers that your customer service takes on every day. But don't overdo it! It looks artificial and trained. One to three mentions in the current conversation are usually sufficient.

Especially when a customer calls frequently, addressing them by name gives them the feeling that you really know who they are and what their concerns are. Of course, you don't have to know the names and processes of all your customers off the cuff, but with the help of a CRM system it is no problem for support to reconstruct the process in seconds while the customer introduces himself and briefly describes his problem.

Let the customer speak!

In call centers in particular, there is often the requirement that a conversation should not last longer than, for example, two minutes. My experience shows: it doesn't work! Not in call centers, in which one caller after the other is handled, and certainly not in companies that strive to offer the right customer service.

Of course, you don't have to listen to Grandma Ilse's 10-minute torrent of talk about the weather, Dachshund Udo and the last meeting of the bowling club, but let her briefly say what you want to say and then interrupt her to get to the real reason for the call get. This is exactly how you should handle disgruntled customers. They use the beginning of the conversation to express your annoyance and let off steam. Give them this opportunity as long as there is time and it is best to take notes on the matter while you are doing this. Because even if the first few minutes in such cases are often emotionally charged, the caller will explain his problem to you. Nothing is more annoying as a customer than when you want to describe your problem to the support employee and are interrupted by a question whose answer you just wanted to explain.

Stay calm!

Especially when it comes to complaint calls, customers are often angry and emotionally charged right at the beginning of the conversation. The best way to counter this is to remain calm and calm yourself, but take the customer seriously. Don't let yourself go crazy, because that won't help anyone. It is often the case that in such situations you can no longer get anywhere with objective arguments. Then it is advisable to first move to a more emotional and understanding contact level. Make sure, however, to get the conversation going and always remember not to be infected by the mood of the caller.

Take customer complaints seriously!

Yes, they do exist, the callers who always only complain, mostly about mistakes that are not yours. But there are also those who justifiably complain. You should take them seriously and admit mistakes. Express your understanding to the caller by saying, for example, "I would be annoyed if I were you!". In doing so, you are forming an alliance with the customer and meeting them in a way that inevitably leads to their trust in you increasing. Because disgruntled customers are probably the least likely to expect them to be right. Make it clear that you will personally take care of his concern and show him ways of solving his problem.

Avoid using empty phrases like "I'll pass this on". As a customer, we have too often had the experience that it is not passed on.

Don't take it personally!

Especially in complaint management, where a customer often expresses anger and annoyance to you on the phone, you have to be aware that he has nothing against you personally (unless you violate point 2), but against your product or company. At this moment you are the only contact option, the mouthpiece to the company and therefore the only projection surface available. So do not take such incidents too seriously, and certainly not take them home with you and keep in mind that the caller does not know you personally and therefore cannot have anything against you personally.

Don't let yourself be yelled at!

Dealing with angry customers is part of everyday life for everyone with customer contact. If you do not succeed in appeasing the caller with the previous telephone training tips for dealing with difficult customers, or if he becomes abusive and yells at you, you do not have to put up with it. Politely but firmly point out his tone and, if necessary, show your limits. You can intensify what you have said by standing up. This opens the chest and makes the voice stronger. If the caller still does not calm down, tell him the following: “Ms. / Mr. Müller, at the moment I don't see any possibility of constructive cooperation so that we can find an appropriate solution to your problem. I suggest you calm down first and then call again at a later time. Speak to you soon."

Get some help!

If you don't know what to do next or if a problem is beyond your competence, you should admit it and ask colleagues for help. The customer will find that you are unable to help and no one wants to waste their time talking to someone who is noticeably unable to fix their problem.

Also, never say "I'm not responsible for that" without directing the caller to whoever is responsible.

Make yourself available as a contact person

A problem that particularly affects customers of larger companies is that you have to deal with a different contact person every time. This is usually not properly involved in the process and has to read in first. Even if this happens quickly with the help of a ticket system, for example, it costs you and you unnecessarily time and nerves. It is therefore advisable, especially if it is foreseeable that several calls or e-mails will be necessary to rectify the problem, that you give the customer your contact details. Let him know that he will be happy to refer to you until the complaint is closed and that he will be at your side to clarify the problem within the company. This increases customer loyalty, signals to him that you are taking his problem seriously and ensures that he has a competent contact person until the process is completed.

End the conversation on a positive note!

Similar to presentations, it is also the case with telephone calls: the end is always the most memorable. Here you have the opportunity to ensure that the caller puts the receiver aside with a good feeling even if you were unable to help him in the conversation in the first instance. Ask if you have any questions, thank you for your patience and wish the caller a pleasant day.

If the matter could not be resolved during the telephone call, express your regret and repeat the further procedure again.

Make sure the problem has been resolved!

If your time and work structure allow it, it can make sense to contact customers again, whose concerns could not be clarified on the first call, to make sure that everything was solved to their satisfaction.

This makes it clear again that you take customer complaints seriously and that customer satisfaction is a high priority in your company. Especially if you have to work with a customer more than once, the next call will reveal another positive aspect of this matter: The customer has a positive attitude towards you because he knows that he has a competent contact person in you.

Yes, some customers are just annoying and you would like to leave the country in a hurry when you see their number on the phone screen. But look at it this way: Nothing grows within your comfort zone! In other words: dealing with difficult customers in sales or customer service doesn't always have to be annoying, it can also enrich you in different ways: On the one hand personally, because you grow with your challenges. The skills that you first acquire in dealing with difficult customers and then perfect at some point will be helpful in all areas of life, including in everyday life. On the other hand for your company: ultimately it is one of your customers who calls you, i.e. someone who actually uses your product or service. So if the caller wasn't just a nag who wanted to nag a bit, use their feedback and see if and what is needed to improve your product or avoid a problem in the future.

How do you handle difficult customers? Tell us about it in the comments!